LeBron James has been an All Star for as long as some NBA rookies have been alive after being honored for the 19th consecutive season. You might have heard that King James is also closing in on a certain auspicious all-time record as well. But LeBron is pacing (pun intended) himself now, after coming under his season average of 30 points per game for the third time in his last four with 26 points in Indy on 11-of-19 shooting. It was just enough for the Lakers to complete a comeback they desperately needed. James added his patented seven boards and seven dimes, while also canning a pair of triples. On a night full of stars, it’s only fitting we start with the brightest of this generation.

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Can you tell that Joel Embiid is tired of coming in second? Because that was made extremely clear after last night’s performance in the battle between the top two MVP finalists the past two seasons. After being snubbed as an All-Star starter and barely being mentioned in the MVP conversation this season, Embiid had a near 50-20 game on the head of the reigning MVP and this year’s lead candidate, Nikola Jokic. Embiid took this matchup so personally that he finished in style, hitting a dagger jumper in the closing moments, followed by the infamous Michael Jordan shrug. Five other Sixers finished in double figures, including James Harden, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds, but last night was all about Embiid.

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I was high on Precious Achiuwa in the offseason, as he showed flashes at the end of last season, both offensively and defensively. He improved his shooting and was able to make it rain from downtown. In addition, he exhibited the ability to make life difficult for Joel Embiid while also being able to switch on the perimeter against guards. Most importantly, though, Nick Nurse spoke glowingly about him over the summer, commenting on his work ethic and finally “getting it.” Then the season started, and it didn’t go as planned. He had two monster games while playing over 33 minutes in each, but after that, was relegated to playing in the teens. To stick a rusty knife into my belly, Achiuwa then succumbed to injury and missed the next 24 games. My Precious once had bling that blinded the eyes, but now was as dull as my jokes. Upon returning to action, he was once again playing in the teens, but slowly but surely, the playing time increased. Christian Koloko was sent down to the G League and my Precious began to glisten once again. Over the last five games, he received 28, 21, 26, 21 and 37 minutes, starting in the most recent contest and putting up 17 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

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I’ve always been fascinated with how humans can control other objects. The Shaolin monks are able to access the energy of the universe and light things on fire from a distance. Think Ryu’s Hadoken from Street Fighter. Random people can spin a 10-pound ball down a lane and knock down pins. Others can use a stick and make a ball spin like planets in an orbit around a table. For hoops, the ultimate joy is making the net dance after launching the ball into the air with the perfect amount of backspin. I always appreciated the chain-linked nets. There was nothing better than that sound. In the NBA, there’s no need to ghettofy things as they can supply the finest nylon for their nets. On Sunday, Julius Randle was the conductor of a nylon ballet, putting on a show for the Detroit crowd.

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My first and only allegiance will always be to the Brooklyn Nets, but Ja Morant’s Memphis Grizzlies are my second-favorite team in the game today. I personally felt they played the NBA champion Golden State Warriors better than anybody else in last year’s playoffs – and don’t forget that Morant went down and missed time. This team has everything you want from a modern NBA roster – a true, showstopping superstar (Morant), a dominant defender who also contributes offensively (Jaren Jackson Jr.), a confident, lights-out shooter (Desmond Bane) and multiple other quality pieces (Adams, Brooks, Jones, Aldama and Clarke, just to name some).

But this is exactly what we don’t want from a fantasy perspective. We don’t want Bane and Jackson returning from injuries and eating into Morant’s usage as a top-tier fantasy producer. We don’t want these young, deep, talented Grizzlies to be so good that they are blowing people out and limiting our fantasy minutes. Let’s take a look at how this situation played out on Wednesday night in The League.

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Not that there was anything else much to talk about with the normal slate of games, but even on a night with a full schedule of matchups, Donovan Mitchell’s career-high 71 points in a comeback win against the Bulls would have probably taken the lede no matter what. Unless of course someone with the name that rhymes with Buka Fonkitch did something like his normal self. But enough about Harry Potter characters, Mitchell just didn’t create a loathing from Chicago fans. Nope. His 71/8/11 night also created so much self-loathing in Minnesota and Utah that they actually might raise up, the dozen or so of them, and actually, well, I don’t know what they’d do to be honest. I guess throw bad midwestern accents and Mormons at the rest of the world. I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something. Regardless, while Mitchell will have some hype follow him, don’t forget that, while a good basketball player, he’s still just a scorer. A scorer that the T-Wolves should have traded for instead and a scorer that the Jazz should have built around, sure. But for now, the Cavaliers have the spotlight in Cleveland, and whatever takes away from the eternal dumpster fire (now with added gasoline for obvious reason) from the Browns, well, something-something goose-goose and the gander. My homies in the Midwest know what’s up. Maybe? Here’s what else I saw during last night’s games…

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On this day a year ago, DeMar DeRozan knocked down a clutch buzzer-beater to steal the victory over the Indiana Pacers. Unfortunately, this time around, he was not so lucky. Despite finishing with 21 points, DeRozan fell just short of yet another heroic moment as he missed the go-ahead turnaround fadeaway jumper that would’ve stolen the victory.

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I may not be the most religious of men, but I do believe in a higher power and understand the significance of the Christmas day holiday. Many view it as a day of giving thanks, and participate in the commercialization of the holiday without understanding the true significance of the day. Christmas is the day Jesus Christ was born. The same Jesus Christ who died later for the sins of man, then was reborn three days later. Christian Wood has traversed that birth/death/ressurection story many times in his career. Undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft, he latched on with the 76ers, then went to the G League, returned to the league with the Hornets, then went back to the G League. He got another chance with the Bucks then went down to the G League once again. In 2019, the Pelicans gave him another shot and, while he has never sniffed the G League again, he went to the Pistons and Rockets before ending up with the Mavericks this season. But the story doesn’t end there. He was coming off the bench and playing fewer than 30 minutes a game in the early part of the season, but then injuries struck the front court and he started the last four games. So, it’s only fitting, that on Christmas, this Christian balled out:

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Christmas Day is among the most hyped lineup of games during the NBA season. But Friday, Dec. 23, was a Festivus celebration for the rest of us. After all, the Association exemplifies feats of strength and airing of grievances this time of year, as the slow-starting teams begin to gripe in the locker room, trade chatter reaches new highs, and the established powers of the season start showing more muscle in impressive wins. 

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Yes, I spent a couple nights watching the NBA, and yes of course I had thoughts.  My first thought was should I watch Manifest?  The answer, of course, is yes.  Who wouldn’t like a Lost knock off, right?  It’s kinda dumb and a good excuse for 40 minutes to make fun of everything you’re watching with your lovely wife.

I’m gonna name each category after my favorite TV shows I’ve seen, in no particular order.

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I’ve always had the need for speed. Since I was able to reach the pedals, my legs always pushed them to the metal. Video games helped to refine my urges, as the experience of playing countless other driving games gave me the experience and instincts to anticipate potential hazards while identifying slivers of space to maneuver through. For you New Yorkers, I used to pick up a buddy on the Jersey side of the GW bridge then see how fast I could make it to the east side of Manhattan. Sure, that was driving on expert mode, and we should’ve died more than a few times, but we always escaped unscathed. Oh, what a thrill. The same emotion is elicited when I watch the fantasy points rack up for Joel Embiid this season. He’s scored at least 30 points 11 times this season with three over 40 and a high of 59. On Sunday, he did this:

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